Monday, September 30, 2013
When I first heard that we would be required to make up all Fridays off by holding class on SUDAY instead, I was surprised, to say the least. First of all, there is the logical thing of, why would we make up only Friday's class, and not do anything about Thursday's missed class? And what about all of the other days we miss for longer breaks? All of this Friday class make-uping has actually given us a surplus of Friday class sessions, and now we've attended it two times more than classes on other days of the week, and a week of attending class six days in a row!
And then the little anglo-christian deep inside of me was like--"You can't do that, Sunday is the day of rest!" I felt it so clearly, sort of like a violation of the sanctity of Sunday or something. I have not considered myself a religious person for a long time now, so it must have been something left over from way back in my childhood, when my family would go to church.
When we asked our program why the class schedule is arranged this way, we got a few different answers. It turns out that the holiday schedule is different every year, and that schedule does not get published until after the school year starts; this makes it impossible to know exactly how many class hours you will have when you pay your tuition. So that whole making up class things is so that you can what you paid for as far as class hours go. But there is another questions too, which is why isn't the holiday schedule the same every year, and why does it take so long to get it published?
But its not just schools that are affected: government organizations are making up the days too. That means that thousands of people are living with uncertainty of their vacation time, and without the benefit of a fixed schedule. This creates problems as far as traveling, and creates a rush to buy tickets for the holiday. For example, if you're going to visit relatives, you have to either take a gamble on the dates to buy tickets before the rush comes on, before the dates are announced; or wait until the dates are announced and fight for train tickets and hotels with the rest of 'em. I have a classmate who decided to try and get plane tickets before the travel rush, but he got his dates wrong and had to miss a week of class because of it.
These are just the facts of life in China: waiting on government bureaucracy, odd regulation... No one bats an eyelash when this type of thing happens. Most people just shrug and say "It's just China," and get on with it. And it is a rather trivial matter...
Anyways, food for thought! Happy National Day everyone! Cheers~
Monday, September 23, 2013
But now that I am here, I know exactly what it means. It means 24hr/day construction. It means leaving for a year and not knowing what your town might look like when you come back. It means new structures going up so quickly you kind of wonder if they are structurally sound. It means ditches in the road, ambiguous traffic directions, and dangerous intersections. It means NOISE, all the TIME noise, the oh god did I just damage my ear drum a little bit kind of noise. An army of men in orange helmets out on the street running cement saws in flip-flops.
Right down the street from my house, there is a big sports stadium where they will be holding the Youth Olympics next August, so in preparation they are putting in all manner of new underground stations and flower planters by the road.... SPORTS *shakes fist*
Sometimes at night I can here the high powered trenching machine at work. It makes my boyfriend's flat in San Francisco, conveniently located on 19th avenue (aka the freeway), seem like a sanctuary of peace and tranquility. It is very odd to see everything torn up like this. I am not sure if I just happened to get plopped right down in the middle of one tiny construction project, or if this is really related to the ubiquitous "China is changing" trend. I feel like it must be, on some sort of grand scale.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Yesterday we went to Purple Mountain 紫金山 to see the Sun Yat Sen's Mausoleum and to see the Ming Xiao Tomb (I don't really know the official name in english). WOW so magnificent, you must look at these pictures.
These places are particularly beautiful not by accident; they are chosen specifically because they have the best fengshui 风水.They are south facing so that the sun will be shining on them the whole day long, and also must be facing water, a symbol of clarity. They must back up against a mountain for protection, and must themselves be up in a high place, so that you must look up towards the tomb, a sign of respect. Very cool, had a fun time walking up all those stairs.